714.44A15/76: Telegram

The Minister in Guatemala (Des Portes) to the Secretary of State

40. Department’s telegram No. 37, September 23, 3 p.m. The Department will note from despatch No. 1003, of September 22, that I had already apparently dissuaded the Guatemalans from raising the Belize question at Panama. I conveyed the other points in the Department’s telegram to the Acting Secretary this afternoon.

The Acting Secretary read to me parts of a despatch from Mr. Salazar stating that Mr. Welles had informed him that the Department had received a note from the British Embassy stating that the British would reopen negotiations after the termination of war. The [Page 188] despatch added that Mr. Welles had spontaneously promised to make vigorous representations to the Embassy upon his return to Washington that there was no relation between this question and the termination of hostilities.

The Acting Secretary said that his Government was disturbed at this because the war might last several years. He added that the British had asked that the matter be omitted at Panama City and that the local propaganda be curbed and also said that the Germans were broadcasting propaganda to the effect that this was a case in which Great Britain had broken a treaty with a weak nation. The Acting Secretary expressed the fear that the British might be merely playing for time.

I point out that neither the British note to the Foreign Office nor the Embassy’s note to the Department as quoted in the Department’s telegram spoke of the termination of the war. The Acting Secretary was very pleased at this information and again expressed his Government’s appreciation for our efforts in the matter.

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Repeated to the Under Secretary at Panama.

Des Portes